Dynasty Fantasy Football Target Share: Week Nine

Peter Howard

Welcome back. Week eight brought us to the point in the season where (as predicted in week one) if you don’t know who is in the top 12, you are mostly too late to guess.

However, it means that continuing to belabor the point for the next eight weeks doesn’t have much upside and sounds… boring. So, I’m expanding our scope a little this week.

If nothing else, I want you to see live demonstrations of why a lot of the common hubbub around how volume works is wrong, and I think that can help.

First up, as always, your weekly reminder that I’m collecting the weekly data (again,) and you can find it here.

Now, let’s get on with it.

The Signal

Ten wide receivers are averaging over 16 points per game, 80% of whom finish in the top 12 by the end of the season since 2018. From this point forward there’s is a depreciating value in guessing who could “rise up” above those already here.

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In other words, the security of those who are already here makes the potential of those who could rise pale in comparison. The gambling equivalent of throwing good money after bad in the hope of making the fun lights twirl.

The ranks may change but the “edge in betting on other players to outproduce these ten players every week is slim.

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What does that leave us? Well, everything else. Top 12 wide receivers finish as starters 87% of the time (in a start 11, 12-team league) and 38% in the top 32 overall. That’s why we love them. But that leaves plenty for the top 24 wide receivers to do as starters and weekly upside plays.

Last week we spotted DJ Moore just before his first best week of the season (top 12 overall, fifth overall wide receiver). That was probably just lucky timing. But let’s take a lot of some players outside the top 24 who have interesting recent usage anyway.

Jakobi Meyers, NE (WR13)

Meyers has finally gotten over his allergy to touchdowns from last year, averaging 14 receiving yards per touchdown – above average – with only 4.8% of the team’s red zone touches. He has also maintained a high target share with 25% of the team’s targets on average. Over the last three weeks, he has lost a little (-1.7%) as Hunter Henry and even Rhamondre Stevenson have become more prominent in the offense over that time. Notice also that they have not taken Meyer’s exact targets or target share, because that’s not a real thing.

Meyers is likely to finish lower than his current WR13 rank, but he could well be the least respected top 24 wide receiver in your league. That’s worth knowing if you’re looking for a good trade target to maintain PPG and add value.

Brandon Aiyuk, SF (WR24)

Over the last three weeks, Aiyuk has… not seen a rise in target share or targets per game despite Deebo Samuel being unavailable, because targets don’t vacate. However, he has seen an increase in Weighted Opportunity (W/Opp). This is a calculation I do (based on the work of Scott Barrett) where I multiplied opportunities by their fantasy point worth with added value to targets and rush attempts inside certain yard lines of the red zone.

Aiyuk has six targets inside the 20-yard line over the last three weeks after having only two in the four weeks before. Last week, as Christian McCaffrey became more worked into the offense, he only had one target inside the 20-yard line (and McCaffrey and one inside the 10, because it wasn’t the same target). But that was still a very rare week earlier in the season.

The 49ers go to the red zone about twice as often as Carolina this season. While McCaffrey is likely to take up rushing and receiving work all over the field to a high degree, it’s not likely to be the 40% share he had on his former team. Plus, I think he also helps them get there even more often.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, KC (WR28)

I mentioned this in my weekly regression article last week, but since he’s returning from bye this week, it’s worth pointing out here. While it’s only a small sample, Smith-Schuster has seen a red zone presence as well having seen seven targets inside the 20-yard line since week five, and only two targets in the four games before. Granted, five of those targets came in week five, a Home win against Las Vegas.

The offense has been remarkably spread – outside of Travis Kelce – but Smith-Schuster has averaged an 18% target share and seen over 19% of targets or more in five out of seven games.

The dream may not be dead, just yet.

DeVonta Smith, PHI (WR27)

AJ Brown, if you hadn’t noticed, is really (really) good at football.

However, his sophomore teammate is no slouch. While it may be easy to mistake him for an inconsistent player who only puts up occasional spike weeks, he’s continued to be a higher-volume player with significant fantasy and dynasty upside.

This year, Smith has had greater than a 23% target share each of the last three weeks and finished inside the top 25 at the position in four out of seven games.

We should continue to value him in the top 24 of dynasty wide receivers, in my opinion.

Honorable mentions:

Rondale Moore, ARI (WR41)

He’s been the clear WR2 on the team since he came back healthy and has averaged an 18% target share over the last three weeks. While DeAndre Hopkins eats up a lot of room on any depth chart, I think it’s exciting to see the sophomore bounce back from a disappointing rookie season.

Darnell Mooney, WR (WR75)

The offense likely has a change in its offensive balance with Chase Claypool on the way. However, I’d suggest Claypool offers a better option than Dante Pettis, rather than target competition for Mooney.

Having seen a 2.7% rise in target share over the last three weeks (and a 2.6 PPG increase), the team does seem to have leaned into its young quarterback Justin Fields’s skillset and it’s working.

I’d expect Claypool to offer a better option on the other side of the field opening up more room for deeper shots downfield and hopefully allowing Mooney to expand his currently increasing production.

Anyway, that’s about all I have time for right now. Let me know what you think, and I’ll see you next time.

 

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Dynasty Fantasy Football Target Share: Week Nine